The lives of two American Marines and an Iraqi translator are forever changed by an encounter with a quick-witted tiger who haunts the streets of war-torn Baghdad attempting to find meaning and redemption amidst the city’s ruins. Rajiv Joseph’s groundbreaking new American play explores both the power and the perils of human nature.
CAST presents the Regional Premiere of Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, Finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize and Winner of the NEA Awards Outstanding New American Play.
Performances are October 11 through November 11, 2012.
Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 8:00 p.m.
Select matinees at 2:30 p.m.
No late seating.
This show contains adult language and themes. Not recommended for children under 16.
Arts a la Mode: For those who are willing to imagine the cruel forces that our species bears, inflicts on others, and endures, in wartime and its aftermath, this play provides such spirits through humor, surreal beauty, and grotesque insights. It is well worth seeing and contemplating, especially with the moral ambiguity of our country’s invasion of Iraq and our continued involvement in that part of the world, producing more ghosts and phantom limbs today.
Charlotte Observer: Carolina Actors Studio Theatre specializes in “experiential” theater and pulls that off with special effectiveness here. The overlapping layers of sound and sparse music blend well. Dee Blackburn’s aptly drab set consists of cracked “paving” on the floor and the remnants of a ruined topiary garden, where the vast plants shaped as animals have died. Even the makeup on a leper in one brief scene earns a gasp.
Creative Loafing: Eric Blake and J.R. Jones are more than amply loud and boisterous as the obnoxious Marines. Blake makes Tom so earnestly obsessed with Uday’s artifacts — which include a golden toilet seat to add a comical patina — that he’s nearly as pathetic as he is detestable. That seems to be Joseph’s aim when Tom addresses Musa as the generic “Habib,” seemingly unaware of the insult until the bitter end. Jones plays Kev as one of those childish soldiers who can’t differentiate between warfare and video games, a characterization that works beautifully when the soldier goes bonkers.